Wedding dress designers brace for 'Pippa Middleton effect'
Just days after the marriage of Pippa Middleton to James Matthews, bridal couturiers are already bracing for the "Pippa effect".
The Duchess of Cambridge's sister wore a Giles Deacon design with a high neck, capped sleeves and hand-appliqued silk-cotton lace to create a seamless look.
Australian bridal couturier Helen Manuell said she expected brides to request elements of Middleton's dress in coming months.
"They're chasing that demure look but still wanting it to be fashion forward. The beauty about where that capped sleeve was cut was you could see the incredible muscle on her arms. She has an amazing athletic body, but the sleeve was very much, 'Hello, look at me'," she said.
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"The high neck and cutout back [of Middleton's dress] ... it's not about what you can see, it's about what you can't see. Covering the shoulders and high neck can be so sexy."
Manuell said Middleton's dress would have taken up to 100 hours to make. She said she would charge up to AU$15,000 ($16,000) for a similar design. Middleton's dress is rumoured to have cost AU$70,000.
At Raffaele Ciuca, a boutique stocking many international brands, operations manager Richelle Whittaker expects copies of the Pippa dress to land within months.
"The Middleton sisters have pushed us towards a more traditional view of wedding dresses," she said.
"We're coming out of a season of lots of plunging necklines. We saw [socialite and hotel heiress] Nicky Hilton do a similar high neckline ... we are only now going to see it more.
She said that after Kate Middleton married Prince William, the store received more requests for lower necklines and long sleeves.
The bridal world is also watching out for photos of Pippa Middleton's "party dress", which could also set trends.
Whittaker said about 20 per cent of brides have two dresses – one for the ceremony and one for the reception.
"There's a lot of emphasis on having fun at the reception. If it's a dress like Pippa's, then it would take a lot of bustling. I would be interested to see what the second gown is."
While the two-dress trend has been on the rise for some time, Middleton may have sparked a new trend by asking her guests to bring a change of outfit, presumably so they could kick up their heels at the after-party.